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“Something about the sound Mike DiRubbo elicits from the alto saxophone – deep, dark, immense, with a machete edge that denotes a ready-for-anything urban sensibility – immediately grabs the ear. It’s a sound familiar to the cream of New York’s hardcore jazz community since the mid-‘90’s” – writes Ted Panken


Today, in an age where media-created young lions are more interested in downloads than down beats, alto saxophonist/composer/bandleader/educator Mike DiRubbo is the real deal. Ever since he arrived in New York two decades ago, DiRubbo has reigned supreme as one of the most durable and dynamic musicians of his generation. That bold statement is augmented by the aural evidence of his work with the brightest jazz stars including Al Foster, Harold Mabern, Larry Willis, Eddie Henderson, Steve Davis, Carl Allen, Christian McBride, Dwayne Burno, Tony Reedus, Peter Washington, John Hicks and Cecil Payne, and as a solo artist, with nine critically-acclaimed CD’s as a leader. DiRubbo has been featured in articles, reviews, and interviews in magazines such as Downbeat, Saxophone Journal, The Sax (Japan), Jazziz, Hothouse, Jazz Times, Jazz Journal, Cadence, Swing Journal, Jazz Folio, JazzWise, All Music Guide and All About Jazz and has been nominated in the Downbeat Rising Stars Alto Saxophone category every year since 2013.

On his instrument DiRubbo has it all: from Benny Carter’s mastery of melody and Johnny Hodges’ ballad mellow tones to Charlie Parker’s light-speed fluency. But what truly sets DiRubbo apart from the rest was his apprenticeship under the legendary alto saxophonist/educator Jackie McLean.

Mike DiRubbo is a Yanagisawa saxophone artist.

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Respected Insights


“Mike DiRubbo is one of the world’s foremost alto saxophonists, and this new release from his actively working band demonstrates why. Like his forebears Charlie Parker and Jackie McLean, DiRubbo plays the alto with tenor-like toughness, as well as an immediately recognizable sound and highly personal phrasing. In true modernist fashion, DiRubbo’s compositions and improvisations survey new harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic territory while simultaneously immersed in a knowledgeable and loving dialogue with the tradition of jazz, blues, and swing. Few contemporary recordings will match ‘Threshold’ for fierceness and authenticity of feeling.” - Dan Voss


“Mike DiRubbo is an energetic and bop-literate alto saxophonist.” - Nate Chinen


“Mike DiRubbo has a big, bold alto tone, an unerring time feel and remarkable facility on the instrument.” –  Bill Milkowski


"This band has the kind of chemistry you get when you mix dynamite and nitroglycerine: The only question is how big the explosion will be."
- J Hunter


“Mike DiRubbo plays with fire and intelligence, and his music dances with life.”
- Francis Davis


“He has his own unique sound on the saxophone…his expansive musical vocabulary exhibits a solid foundation in the bebop tradition that has been judiciously elevated through a liberal addition of post-Coltrane modality ”
- Russ Musto


“…the performances are first class all the way, melodic and inventive, and without a misplaced note…His tone is clear, his sound large and round, and his notes immaculately selected.” - Steven Loewy


“There is something inexplicably unique about his tunes. Whether it’s a ballad, a mid-tempo jaunt or an uptempo cooker, once you get a feel for his style his songs become instantly recognizable. That’s a trait that few modern jazz composers possess, and it wouldn’t surprise me if some of his tunes were to be considered jazz standards someday.”
- Roman St. James


“…unusually rich alto sound.”  “There are few people who can play this kind of music this well.  A real pleasure.”
- David R. Adler


“…a powerful, not-to-be-missed performer.”
- David A. Orthmann

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